The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 4 August 2020
Rebuilding Trust - Industry leaders are developing a quality mark to be displayed in theatres and on other promotional materials, aimed at rebuilding trust among theatregoers. It is one of a number of measures being planned to regain the confidence of theatregoers when venues are able to reopen. Staggered start times for shows are also being considered, as well as plans to work with Transport for London on helping audiences get to theatres.
The plans are being drawn up by the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, which have revealed they will be creating a quality assurance mark – which it is hoped will be an official icon – to “encourage consumers that theatregoing is safe” and to show that theatre is “ready for business”.
“This will be used in promotional materials and in venue signage alongside other health and safety messaging and campaign communications to reassure audience members and encourage consumers that theatregoing is safe,” the bodies said in a briefing to inform members of ongoing plans in light of the pandemic.
SOLT and UK Theatre added that they planned to create a safety video for theatres to use, once they are able to reopen, to demonstrate how they are following guidelines, alongside what the bodies described as “ticketing principles” to allow greater flexibility for audiences.
Job Losses - Theatre job losses have increased from 3,000 to 5,000 in a month, according to figures from entertainment union BECTU. Figures published by the union on 3 July revealed that employers had notified the union of close to 3,000 redundancies and layoffs. In four weeks, this has increased by 2,000. The job losses include redundancies of those who are permanently employed and lay-offs of casual workers and zero hours contract staff. According to BECTU, more than half (approximately 2,700) of the total job losses are in London and the West End.
Casualty List - Four festivals scheduled to take place in Malta this month have been cancelled due to a rise in covid-19 cases on the island. Escape 2 The Island, Rhythm + Waves, BPM Festival: Malta and Mi Casa Festival have all been called off. A statement from each festival says they are all "disappointed" not to be going ahead, after making a decision with the Maltese Tourism Authority.
Malta was hoping to be 2020's festival hotspot, with most clubs in Mallorca and Ibiza closed and festivals in the UK cancelled. The line-ups were full of British artists like Chase and Status, Aitch, AJ Tracey and Fatboy Slim, with their social media targeting people in the UK with information on flight prices. But the festivals could not "take place in a safe manner", statements say.
Moving Swiftly On - Taylor Swift's eighth album, Folklore, has broken several chart records in its first week on sale. The record was written and recorded during the coronavirus lockdown, and swerves away from the pop sound that's dominated her last three albums.
On Spotify, it achieved 80.6m streams in a single day, the highest-ever tally for a female artist. In the US it sold 846,000 copies, making it the best-selling record of the year after just seven days on sale. Swift also becomes the first artist in US chart history to have seven albums sell more than 500,000 copies in a single week; and the first female artist to have seven albums debut at number one. As well as topping the US Billboard chart, Folklore reached the summit in the UK, Finland, Australia, Norway, New Zealand and Belgium.
Farewell - Andrew Lloyd Webber has led tributes to André Ptaszynski, describing him as “one of the true gentlemen of the theatre”. Ptaszynski, who died on 29 July, was chief executive of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group between 2000 and 2011.
Lloyd Webber said: “André was one of the true gentlemen of the theatre; a theatre animal through and through who lived and loved the profession like few others. There was nothing inside the square mile of the West End that he didn’t know, sometimes it seemed he knew what was going on before it actually happened!
"So farewell, dear André. The West End will not be the same without your cheery figure cycling down Shaftesbury Avenue.”
(Jim Evans)
4 August 2020

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